There’s action in Congress to pour $14 billion into improving the tracks between New York and Washington, reducing the travel time from 2:45 to under 2 hours. Hooray for that.

It’s still early going, of course. Besides budget-cutting zeal and NIMBYs, there are two big things to worry about. First, stations may be added for political reasons, defeating the “express train” concept:

The Wilmington [Delaware] station is Amtrak’s 11th-busiest in the nation, so Castle said he would “fight like heck” to make sure any high-speed trains stopped here.

I won’t comment on Wilmington specifically, but we can expect to see this kind of thing all along the line.

Secondly, they’re looking for a public-private partnership. Now, I’m not ideologically opposed to this kind of thing if it gets projects done. But if one of Amtrak’s few profitable routes gets cannibalized by a private operator, that can only hurt service elsewhere in the nation.

TGV image from Flickr contributor vorgefuhl

7 Replies to “American Bullet Trains?”

  1. Brad — Probably because putting proper HSR in that corridor will require lots of new rights-of-way to accommodate the new trains. The Acelas are running on 100-year-old tracks that were never designed to handle high-speed gear. For example, wider turning radii, I believe, are required.

  2. That is the best news I’ve heard for US high speed rail since I first heard about the CA high speed rail project.

  3. frank- Any new ROW would be negligible. My recollection is that there are only a few curves that might need realignment for HSR. The balance of the curve issue is dealt with by tilting equipment.

    The vast majority of the cost of adding HSR to the NE Corridor is in catenary, bridges and tunnels.

    Kinda splitting hairs, tho. It’s good news and shows what is possible on dedicated ROW. BNSF and UP need to be more accountable.

  4. Forrestd , shame on you for bringing up September 11th in that way.

    I don’t do patriotism the way the Bush administration would like, but airplanes, trains, buses, and yes cars are all important pieces of our transportation infrastructure. They all have their appropriate uses.

    It is highly unlikely that rail would have replaced the airplanes that flew into the Twin Towers.
    Even there was a Boston to Los Angeles TGV-like line it would still take about 15 hours at 200 mph.

    Ben, shame on you for supporting forrestd.

Comments are closed.